Green Jobs to fit that Sustainability Curriculum

American River College, Executive Committee member

These days everyone is talking about the new “green economy,” about how green jobs are the future. Government and industry are putting billions of dollars into creating jobs in all shades of green, from solar-panel installers to electric-car builders, and Americans are clamoring to get them. Green jobs continue to grown amidst the economic downturn - California's unemployment rate has hovered around 12.4% for almost a year. According to a report released recently by Next 10 (“an independent, nonpartisan organization focused on innovation and the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life issues for all Californians”, green jobs continue to grow at a healthy clip, even in the wake of the economic crisis. From January 2008 to 2009, the most recent observable year, jobs in the green sector grew more than three times faster (3%) than total employment in California (1%). The Core Green Economy now accounts for 174,000 jobs in California. ”The green job data is significant because these jobs are growing in every region across the state, outpacing other sectors, and generating business across the supply chain,” said F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10. ”While green job numbers are modest relative to the overall economy, there are very few business sectors in a state as large as California that employ people across every region. The emergence of this vibrant Core Green Economy can be attributed to California's history of innovation, as well as our forward-looking energy and energy efficiency policies.”

Regional Trends Noted in the Report

Bay Area

  • The Bay Area has recorded the strongest green employment gains in the state, expanding by 109% since 1995.
  • From January 2008 to 2009, green employment in the Bay Area increased 8% (5% faster than the state overall), adding almost 3,500 jobs.
  • The Bay Area represents 28% of the employment and 26% of the businesses in California's growing green economy.

Los Angeles Area

  • The Los Angeles Area represents a significant portion of California's Core Green Economy, boasting 23% of green employment in the state and 22% of green businesses.
  • Green employment in the Los Angeles Area has grown 20% since 1995, adding 6,600 jobs to the region. This rate of growth far outpaces overall growth in the region, which was recorded at 9% over the same time period.

Orange County

  • From January 1995 to 2009, green employment in Orange County increased 67%, adding 7,700 jobs during that time period. Orange County's green job rate is growing faster than overall jobs.

San Diego Region

  • San Diego was considered a green jobs growth leader in the most recent observable period (January 2008-2009). Green employment in the region expanded by 6.5%, more than double the statewide green jobs growth rate.

Sacramento Area

  • The Sacramento Area is a green economy growth leader. The region gained approximately 7,100 new jobs from January 1995 to 2009, reflecting a 103% increase over that time period.

Inland Empire

  • Although slowing over the most recent year, green employment grew 53% while total employment increased 47% between January 1995 and 2009. During this time, approximately 4,400 jobs and over 500 business establishments were added to the region's green economy.

San Joaquin Valley

  • Although slowing in the most recent year, San Joaquin Valley's green economy expanded by 55% from January 1995 to 2009, producing nearly 3,360 jobs and 390 new business establishments in the region's Core Green Economy.

Central Coast

  • Green employment in the Central Coast grew 3% in the most recent reported year.
  • From January 1995 to 2009, green employment expanded by 7% and green businesses grew by 52%, adding approximately 170 establishments.

Sacramento Valley

  • From January 1995 to 2009, green employment in the Sacramento Valley expanded 40%, adding approximately 1,000 jobs and outpacing growth in the total economy. Green business establishments doubled in number over the long period and increased 6% from January 2008 to 2009.

North Coast

  • Since 1995, green employment has increased 46%, adding roughly 620 jobs, an important addition to North Coast employment, which grew only 15% over the same time period. Green businesses in the region have shown similar growth, expanding 56% to nearly 290 establishments in January 2009.

Sierra Region

  • In terms of business growth, the number of green establishments in the region increased 50% between January 1995 and 2009.


Baker, David R. “California green jobs grew 3% despite downturn.” San Francisco Chronicle. January 19, 2011.

Daysog, Rick. “Area’s green jobs fall flat in 2009: study finds Capital still a leader in state.” Sacramento Bee. January 19, 2011.

Fisher, Patty. “Go green to earn green: forum focuses on help young women break into higher-paying jobs in construction, engineering firms.” San Jose Mercury News. December 3, 2010.

“Green jobs continue to grown amidst the economic downturn.” Oakland Tribune. January 18, 2011.

“Green jobs growing in San Diego, study says.” San Diego Union-Tribune. January 19, 2011.

Jobs in green economy growing more than three times faster than jobs in total economy.” PR Newswire. January 19, 2011.

Milbourn, Mary Ann. “O.C. fertile soil for green jobs.” Orange County Register. January 20, 2011.

“Work force grew among green firms: report says businesses created 5,000 jobs in 2008, half in Bay Area.” San Jose Mercury News. January 19, 2011